Arginine recycling in endothelial cells is regulated BY HSP90 and the ubiquitin proteasome system

Xiaomin Wu, Xutong Sun, Shruti Sharma, Qing Lu, Manivannan Yegambaram, Yali Hou, Ting Wang, Jeffrey R. Fineman, Stephen M. Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Despite the saturating concentrations of intracellular L-arginine, nitric oxide (NO) production in endothelial cells (EC) can be stimulated by exogenous arginine. This phenomenon, termed the “arginine paradox” led to the discovery of an arginine recycling pathway in which L-citrulline is recycled to L-arginine by utilizing two important urea cycle enzymes argininosuccinate synthetase (ASS) and argininosuccinate lyase (ASL). Prior work has shown that ASL is present in a NO synthetic complex containing hsp90 and endothelial NO synthase (eNOS). However, it is unclear whether hsp90 forms functional complexes with ASS and ASL and if it is involved regulating their activity. Thus, elucidating the role of hsp90 in the arginine recycling pathway was the goal of this study. Our data indicate that both ASS and ASL are chaperoned by hsp90. Inhibiting hsp90 activity with geldanamycin (GA), decreased the activity of both ASS and ASL and decreased cellular L-arginine levels in bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAEC). hsp90 inhibition led to a time-dependent decrease in ASS and ASL protein, despite no changes in mRNA levels. We further linked this protein loss to a proteasome dependent degradation of ASS and ASL via the E3 ubiquitin ligase, C-terminus of Hsc70-interacting protein (CHIP) and the heat shock protein, hsp70. Transient over-expression of CHIP was sufficient to stimulate ASS and ASL degradation while the over-expression of CHIP mutant proteins identified both TPR- and U-box-domain as essential for ASS and ASL degradation. This study provides a novel insight into the molecular regulation L-arginine recycling in EC and implicates the proteasome pathway as a possible therapeutic target to stimulate NO signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-19
Number of pages8
JournalNitric Oxide - Biology and Chemistry
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • Arginine recycling
  • CHIP
  • Protein degradation
  • Ubiquitin proteasome
  • hsp90

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cancer Research


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